9 Helpful / 0 Not
Givin' The Devil His Due
Pros: Devil's Den boasts multiple amenity-laden, mostly open layouts to provide fun and challenge to every mood and skill level. More than any other non-ball-golf course I've played, Burchfield Park's Devil's Den course puts disc golf on par with our more well-known brethren. Every hole is outfitted with dual concrete tees and dual Chainstar pins, each of which features a large flag identifying the hole number and layout color. Boundless amenities add to the professional sheen, including benches, next tee signs, well-built wooden structures/obstacles, and on the 92 degree day that we played most recently, large water jugs strategically positioned throughout the course to refill bottles. Maintenance was impeccable, with every hole mowed and devoid of trash. This is the kind of pay to play experience that makes me happy to shell out a few bucks ($3 entry fee for Ingham County residents, $5 for non-residents, plus $4 per player) for a superior round or two.
The design is pretty solid too, with the dual tees and pins offering different looks as opposed to simply added length. All layouts are what I would call open strategic, where hitting the preferential landing zone is helpful but not essential to achieving low scores. This is a high fun factor course which maximizes the time spent throwing discs while minimizing the time spent searching for them. There's a clear skill level division on display in the layouts, with short to short offering a good layout for casual and rec players, short to long for intermediate, long to short for advanced, and long to long for pros. The long tees add an especial layer of difficulty, begging higher skill levels to attack the holes with nontraditional shots (i.e. rollers and, on Hole 2, a thumber or tomahawk tee shot). Old sand traps play as OB, and finding them is not as difficult as you might think. I speak from experience... Individual hole highlights include the gauntlet Hole 11, with its heavy premium on hitting the correct (left side, but not *too* left) landing zone to score well, and Hole 17, an attractive island green playing as a fun little late-round gut check that isn't punishingly difficult.
The Hole 18 Gold green deserves special mention, as a landscaped rock outcropping resplendent with a small fountain that wraps up the round in a neat little bow. Little touches like these make Devil's Den feel like a cared-for priority at Burchfield Park, a breath of fresh air compared to many other county park courses.
For a busy park, the area Devil's Den sits on is pretty exclusive to disc golf. The dirt road to and from the maintenance building sees a little bit of traffic, but the non-golf foot traffic on the course is almost zero.
Cons: There's a decent amount of overlap between the Holes 11 & 15 fairways, and it's not too much of a stretch for drives to end up in the way of another group. Golfers should be aware of players on the companion hole and adjust accordingly.
I would've preferred a little bit more hole variety (flat and sparsely wooded is the name of the game), but most of that can be found on River's Edge, the other course on site.
Off the fairway, the rough can be a little thick and laden with poison ivy, but it's still much thinner than River's Edge.
Other Thoughts: Devil's Den is the rare public course whose generous amenities nudge up the course quality and rating by a measurable amount. Even if the open design style isn't your bag, only the most sour discer could leave here feeling like they didn't get their money's worth.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Lives up to its reputation
Pros: Well groomed and roomy enough fairways, 4 courses in one, benches at all holes, picnic tables at many, shade available at each tee, insulated water jugs with drinking water were placed at about every 4th tee in summer, variety of throw skills required, friendly people, worth the price of admission, bathrooms and water at main building, next tee signage, flags on top of baskets with hole numbers. The short tee to short tee course is challenging enough for an advanced player with might be playing with rec players.
Cons: The rough most likely has poison ivy. Could use next tee stickers on each basket to help you find the next tee post signs. The rough is thick. Navigation at tee 12 gets tricky.
Other Thoughts: Could use some thinning of the rough adjacent to some of the narrower fairways and/or some trails hacked into the rough to facilitate finding a disc in said rough. Read other peoples reviews if you want to know about holes.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
The Devil's Heaven
I almost didn't get to play this course. I was in nearby East Lansing, visiting the prestigious Michigan State University campus (GO GREEN!) on a trip visiting Indiana. However, I sold my soul to the devil, AKA my mom, who is actually a sweet lady, but I needed to make a metaphor, and got to play this course. And boy was I glad I did.
The first pro was present on all holes. Two nice concrete tee pads, two Discraft Chainstar baskets, and two super detailed tee signs. These are some of the most professional things a course can do. It provides the player a complete mix of challenges, with four different layouts on each hole, none less appreciated than the other. Some people don't like two baskets on every hole, but this was executed very nicely. None of the baskets were in the way of each other, and the gold baskets were not just longer versions of the blues, but a different layout altogether.
This park was in immaculate condition. The fairways were mowed to almost ball golf fairway length (Ok not quite that short), the trails were mulched, and the shrubs and undergrowth were well groomed. This is always a plus, no doubt. This was one of the best maintained courses I played.
Most all the baskets had large ball golf-like flags with color of layout and hole number. This was a very nice touch, adding to the well groomed and manicured aspect of this course.
The course design was of course well done too, or else this would not be a 4. I honestly threw almost every disc in my bag off the tee alone. There was a good mix of short and long holes , especially with the multiple tees. There were the wooded holes, and the open bomber holes. They had lefty friendly holes and righty friendly holes. It was very nice.
Navigation was fairly easy. There were a lot of directional signs, and most of the baskets were numbered, along with all of the tee signs. There were gold tee signs and blue tee signs as well as flags, so you would always know if you were throwing to the right spot.
There were some nice man made added obstacles. This was my first experience with bunkers on a disc golf only course. They were not deep, just OB sand circles somewhere around the basket. Some people might find this gimmicky, but I liked it. I think it was a nice way to add a death putt of sorts without the use of the non-abundant elevation in eastern Michigan. I liked the little rock greens that were made, and especially the beautiful fountain around 18's gold basket, seen in the picture of the course.
Cons: There are not that many things wrong with this course. Honestly. I really loved the course and how it was designed and maintained. There are a few things I can nitpick, but I will emphasize the fact that this course is a must play.
There was not a lot of elevation on the course. Where there was elevation, they used it well, but you never had a downhill bomb, or an uphill skill shot, which sucks, because that's one of my favorite shots to throw.
Some of the back nine holes were close together, most specifically 11 and 15. They ran parallel to each other, and as of the writing of this review, one of the baskets on 15 was without the blue flag, so you could possibly run into a nice throw to the wrong basket. (If the flag gets fixed, please let me know so I can remove that part of the review)
Navigation was tough on maybe one or two holes, mainly because it was behind the gold basket, which was way behind the blue basket a couple times, so that could be a little bit of a problem.
Cost to enter the park and disc golf fee. I didn't have to pay to enter the park, there was nobody at the booth. There was not a real place to pay for disc golf either, you have to go inside the building and near the office, if there is anybody there. I ended up paying there, but it was kinda weird.
Other Thoughts: There are two pro level courses onsite, within a great park. I could honestly see this being a great tournament venue, as it has two fantastic courses. It is a great addition to the amazing disc golf scene that Michigan has to offer, and I would highly encourage you to visit Michigan!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Fantastic course design. Fun deuce or die shorts to shorts. Fun, challenging two shot par fours from the longs to longs. Long basket positions are challenging and unique in many cases. I used to think of elevated baskets, man made obstacles, etc as gimmicks, but this course uses just about every trick in the book well without seeming like putt putt. The course maintenance/landscaping is better than any course I've played (this was #73). The OB sandtraps are used brilliantly on several holes. This is the first 5 I've given. It's based on the whole complex. (I lied, also gave Flip a 5)
Cons: Many people think I'm a tough grader. About my only con for this course is the mando wall on #2. Just seemed silly to me, and is about the only "clown's mouth" thing that detracted from this course.
Other Thoughts: The park is a very nice county park with numerous options for things to do. Having two completely different courses, as others have mentioned, makes this possibly THEE destination location in the state. Add to the fact Devil's Den is really FOUR courses in one with the tee/basket options...you could make this a multiple day trip and not be bored. The addition of short tee pads on River's Edge to make it more beginner/junior friendly is literally about the only thing lacking at this facility.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
woW! A lot of course a lot of fun
Pros: A superb course that rivals Flip city in it's fun factor: Levithan in distance and is in a class of its own in variety. 4 different courses long to long, long to short, short to long, and what seems the most popular amongst locals was the shorts to shorts. I saw no one playing long tees which seemed like a pro level course to say the least. I played the short tees to the long baskets and that is what I'm basing my review on.
I thought the course was very challenging with distance shots, it was long, and had manicured fairways. Well defined and had varied routes to choose from.
Excellent set of tee pads that were concrete. Clean course no trash lying around.
High fun factor 5 out of 5
Beginner to pro level
4 different layouts
Another different 18 hole course next to it
Good signage shouldn't get lost
Friendly helpful locals
The course shared a lot of characteristics with some of the higher rated courses in Kentucky that I've played.
Cons: It might be to rough in the summer? I can see an issue with thick growth, I played on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. No winds sunny. No plant growth. Primo conditions. Terra firm and I witnessed no snakes.
Bugs as early as March. But not unbearable.
A few holes were average and forgettable. Gimmick on 2 and 17 but unique. Tee signs could be more detailed but trust me I'm nitpicking.
Other Thoughts: Well worth the 4 dollars each person to play.
In my top ten courses I've ever played!!
Worth traveling to.
A destination course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Great New/Intermediate Course
Pros: Very Open
Mildly challenging basket positions
Great options for all skill levels with the Short/Long tee and basket positions
Signage at each tee box
Cons: Only con I have is that there are a few holes near the road but it really is not anything to complain about
Other Thoughts: As a newer player, I really enjoyed this course. There isnt a ton of spots you can lose a disc. There are lots of fields edged by tree's used on this course which is great for a newer player. I can throw hard but not accurately yet so there is a lot of space for my discs to fly and not get lost. They have some really neat basket positions too within the trees which force you to make a great drive, or a good mid range shot to get in position for a easier putt.
Overall, I really think this is a phenomenal course for newer or intermediate players alike. Or a great practice spot for higher level players who can make the difficult shots that the long/long requires.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
What disc golf courses should be
- Dual Tee/Basket locations
- Lots of length as well as short technical
- Pay to play to keep the riff out
- One of two excellent courses in the park
Hard to find many cons with a course this clean and well taken care of. It can take a little longer if you get stuck behind a group of newer players because of the length. There was quite a bit of Ivy in the rough (that can be extremely thick so pay attention to your shots)
One of the few courses ive played that I had a hard time nitpicking at least 1 or 2 holes. Well worth stopping and even traveling to. Ive only played twice, one round being a tournament but it seems to be quiet and secluded during weekdays. Looking forward to going back
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
A Gem in the Heart of The Mitten
Pros: This is going to be a fairly short and concise review as I will direct you to BogeyNoMore's review further down. He (I assume) nails it. I will just add a little bit of peanuts to his butter.
This course is what I imagine a disc golf course is like that is created like a ball golf course without actually being on a ball golf course. Pristine as can be. Truly have to hand it to the maintenance crew of this course, just spectacular. Hell, I saw only two random beer cans on the whole course and their presence was shockingly obvious.
How cool is it that in essence this course offers four courses in one? Two tee pads with two baskets on most holes. Diversity. I ended up playing long tees with gold baskets. One of the longest courses, if not THE longest course I have played. It was great.
Cons: Once again, see BogeyNoMore's review for agreed upon cons.
A few I might add.
I would have liked to seen more shorts on the longs. Weird I know.
Elevation was lacking, no fault of their own, and I'm from Ludington, so that doesn't help either.
Other Thoughts: In my changing top ten as of right now, and in my top 3 of maintained courses in the states. Go play. This course is going to take multiple play throughs to even feel it's greatness. Amazing job to those that are involved in the course design and maintenance. bravo!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Probably one of the best I've played
Pros: This course was amazing. We researched courses in the area to play while we were traveling from VA to Grand Rapids, Michigan and were very glad we chose this.
You will throw a lot of discs in your bag. There was a great variety of shots and every hole had a great location.
Cons: The only thing negative was a lot of mosquitoes.
And maybe not scheduling enough time to be able to play the course again from the other tee or to the other basket.
Other Thoughts: It's worth your drive and the fee to play. It's well designed and well maintained.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
A for DD
Pros: Long/short Baskets AND Tees
Two sets of descriptive teesigns on every hole
Course and park maintenance is top notch from the mowing to benches and trashcans throughout
Many pin placements have small, but interesting factors such as being on small knolls or sunken into bunker-like craters.
The long tees and pins are definitely long, but definitely fair and don't try too hard to prevent access either down the fairway or to the pin.
17 and 18 provide an exciting finish with 17's island shot and 18's beautiful fountain.
Cons: Fairways are definitely fair, but if you find rough it can be punishing either from very dense tall grass or poison-ivy laden brush.
Mostly an open, placement shot course. However I didn't feel like the long tees requiring many max distance drives were that repetitive. River's edge helps to mitigate the open ness of this course.
The mando on #2 is a little strange but it adds to the professionalism of the course.
Other Thoughts: DD compliments River's edge almost perfectly. If you play this one after River's Edge, it's a nice opportunity to let it rip and blow off some frustration from it's heavily wooded counterpart. This is one of the premier 2 tee 2 basket courses in the state of Michigan. The man-made O.B. features have really shaped up nicely since conception; I actually think there could be more permanent OB features in and around the fairways and if that were to happen I would seriously consider this course a 5*. What it lacks in constant elevation it makes up for in trickier pin placements and distance off the long tees.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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